For those living in "snow belt" areas, you've already had a taste of winter's rapid approach. With real winter weather just around the corner, you're probably already considering how to get your car winter-ready. Driving conditions can be extremely hazardous when snow begins to fall and the tires you choose for your car play a vital role in your safety. Are snow tires really necessary? See for yourself:
1. Do I need snow tires? If you drive a long distance to work, transport children or drive at night, you absolutely should have snow tires. Normal tires become hardened when the temperature drops below 40 degrees and can lose traction. Snow tires are made of a softer material so they retain their grip and traction at any temperature.
2. Aren't all-season tires just as good? All season tires are excellent and provide acceptable control in a wide variety of conditions. However, that adaptability is also their weakness. Their compounds and tread design give extended mileage and durability but are not particularly effective through snow or on ice. Use them in the summer to deal with potential rainy weather but choose snow tires to manage snow and ice.
3. Can I just put 2 snow tires on the front? It's best to keep the same type of tire on all four wheels regardless of the type you choose. Since tread design dictates how the wheels handle, you want all of them on the same page. Matched tires give you better acceleration, braking and overall control as you deal with the challenge of snowy roads.
4. What if my car has traction control? Contrary to its name, traction control doesn't actually give you better traction. Instead, it only limits your acceleration to the traction level of your tires. The only way to get more traction is to buy tires with the grip to match your driving conditions.
5. Won't ABS brakes help with traction? Like traction control, ABS brakes only limit your braking to the traction level of your tires. They do nothing to improve traction. Your ABS system will work best when you give it tires with the optimal grip for the road conditions faced. In the winter, the best grip comes from snow tires.
6. What if I have a 4-wheel-drive SUV? Here's a special note of caution to SUV drivers: just because you have four-wheel-drive doesn't mean you can stop or turn any better than a two-wheel-drive car. SUVs have great traction when under power but if you're off the gas pedal (for instance, when you need to quickly turn or stop) the laws of physics say you might as well be driving a sports car.
7. Aren't snow tires expensive? Surprisingly, snow tires are an economical purchase. For starters, when you exchange tires for the winter, your summer tires sit in the garage. That means your summer tires don't see the tread loss that they normally would and often last twice as long. More importantly, ask yourself how much safety is worth to you and your family. One accident or one episode stuck in a snow bank will change your definition of expensive.
With the dangerous driving just around the corner, make sure your auto policy has you covered. Let NetQuote help you instantly connect with quality, local agents in your area. You'll get competitive quotes, advice on your policy options and the chance to save more money every month.
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